Thursday, March 29, 2012

Women Mean Business

Today, I talked to a group of ladies concerning social media and netiquette. I will be posting topics of that discussion over the next several weeks. I’ll start by posting the best three pieces of advice I’ve ever heard (other than that I’ve heard from my sweet mother, of course).

1. Kara DeFrias says, “Always say yes.” I fit this into the discussion about social media because the first response to social media is that it’s too much and that users don’t want people to know their business.

2. “Content is king,” says Dr. Joe Burns. Basically, this means that you can put all the bells and whistles you want on your site, but unless you have content that brings people back over and over again, your site can be a very attractive place that people don’t visit.

3. Finally Harvider Singh, who owns Bestica, told me that I should do what I do best. What he was saying was that I should do what I know, and I should hire out the rest. This way, I could make more money being a professional instead of waiting around to get things done that I may never learn!

Over the next few weeks, I will focus on these three statements as I give a little more information for each. I’ll be posting presentations and blog posts that address my subpoints and help you take your business online.

The World is your Wide Web! Enjoy!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Steve Jobs Timed his Death -- Thinks about Apple Until the End

On this sad day, I have one aching theory brewing in my thoughts. I think Steve Jobs timed his death. Hear me out -- I’m not being insensitive to his disease or the heroic effort he undertook battling for his life.

I’m saying he loved Apple until his dying breath. I googled my theory to see if anyone else felt the same and found a comment that said Jobs timed his death because he understood the new iPhone would be a total disappointment. Why the heck would he stick around for the announcement then?

Here’s my theory:

The world knew that Steve Jobs was ill, and there was speculation that the stock would take a hit with the death of Jobs. Even one of my students, Aaron Gutekust, made this assumption in class on Tuesday while we were following a live blog of the launch.

I think Steve Jobs knew that if he died during the time while people were waiting for the new iPhone to be released (i.e., now), it would protect his life’s investment. Check this out. Investors would stay put while waiting for the launch of the coveted new iPhone.

While some think the new iPhone is a disappointment, I think our disappointment is only that it's not named iPhone 5. I'm good with an 8 megapixel camera on my phone and quality HD video capability, among other add-ons. I think we'll see some sales tomorrow, my dear Apple friends, particularly from those of us with expired contracts who have been holding out for the new toy! I certainly have booked for the occasion.

I am a full believer that people can will themselves to live, but ultimately, the Big Man is the only one who can really know that. I think maybe Jobs’ prayers were answered. Brilliant and strategic until the end. I think he would appreciate my theory.

Thanks, Mr. Jobs.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Home for Christmas

Suzanne Miller has been a member of the Hammond Police Department for 14 years. She is a sergeant police officer, and she sees “bad guys” every day. Miller often watches people make decisions that rip their families apart.

Lately, however, she has seen the other side of humanity -- the softer, gentler side. She has watched small communities bond over a five-year-old child and her miraculous story of strength and survival.

Miller’s granddaughter, Madyson, was in a car accident on Sept. 18. Her mother, registered nurse Sonya Watts, had to administer CPR at the scene of the accident to revive her. The accident left Mady in a coma for three weeks and resulted in a severe brain injury.

At first, Sonya and Brian Watts received very little hope concerning their daughter’s future. They were first told that she would die, then that she would have very little brain activity, if any, if she were to live. Now, they are celebrating that she is expected to walk out of the hospital on her own.

Miller always believed Mady would pull through. Like any other grandma would be, she was scared, but her faith never wavered. She prayed hard and clung to her family and church family at New Sharon Baptist. Her friends became her family. Strangers became family too.

“I’m emotional,” she said through tears. “I’m so grateful to everyone who has been there for us. It’s overwhelming how good people are.”

The most recent act of kindness was a fundraiser at the Loranger Volunteer Fire Department. Loranger firefighter Robert Morel Sr. and his wife Cindy, along with Wilbert and Tuffy Campbell, also of Loranger, coordinated the event that included a jambalaya dinner and bake sale.

Stores from this small community, as well as in surrounding communities and even some from out of state, donated gifts for a silent auction organized by Marianne Polmon. Eloise Sance of the Hammond Blood Center oversaw the blood drive at the event that collected around 125 pints of blood in Mady’s name, and firefighters who don’t know the Watts family were there from 6 a.m. until 6 p.m. helping with the jambalaya dinner and ensuring the event ran smoothly.

“We could not have made it without the love and generosity from everyone,” Miller said. “I had one lady hand me cash and say, ‘It’s a gift from God.’ Some are giving to Mady’s bank account anonymously. People have been absolutely wonderful.”

In addition to fundraisers, Miller said Madyson is on numerous church prayer lists. Pink "A Prayer for Mady" bracelets adorn the wrists of all her supporters; even Mady is wearing one. Facebook prayer groups are growing by the day, and Sonya and Brian still receive constant messages of support.

“God gave us Mady back,” Miller said. “We’ve all learned so much from her. She’s our miracle. She’s getting stronger every day.”

Madyson’s outlook is good. Her doctors have decided that she will go home on Dec. 23, three months and five days after the accident that turned her life upside down. Her family – the blood relatives, friends and strangers who have come together during these short months – will be waiting with open arms.

“I’m most thankful to God, but I’m also thankful for Sonya,” Miller said. “She’s my hero for bringing that baby back. We have been blessed ever since. Form the first responders, the nurses and doctors at Children's Hospital in Jackson, as well as all the nurses, doctors and therapists at the Children's Hospital in New Orleans, this has all just been so wonderful.”

Saturday, December 4, 2010

We're going through a FB split ... Jake Narro will have his own page on Facebook

It’s time for us to face the truth. It’s over. It’s been coming for a while, and it isn’t working anymore. Really, it never did. We’re just too different. I have asked Jake for a Facebook divorce. We are gong our separate ways on Facebook.

We have agreed that it should be quick – for the children’s sake. Jake is going to move to his own space, but we are going to share custody of our friends and family. It will be a 50/50 split, and we are going to let some of our friends decide who they want to live with.

Some of you may decide it’s best to stay with me full time, and some of you will decide to live with Jake full time. We will not make you feel bad if you choose one of us over the other. After all, it’s your Facebook life; you have to choose how you live it. Still, some of you may decide you would like our 50/50 arrangement; we love you all and respect your decisions. Sure, it will be difficult for all at first, but we are going to work with you to make sure the change is as smooth as possible.

I have to be honest and say that this divorce is not uncontested. Jake fought it all the way, bless his heart. The Facebook marriage as it is just never felt right to me though. And our indecision on posts, and who would post when, was confusing to all our friends. People didn’t know who they were talking to, and I felt it wasn’t fair. Jake, of course, thought that was the fun part.

I have agreed not to change the locks. Jake can still come over when I’m not home and make sure the page is safe and secure. He said I can come over to his place too. We are going to “just be friends” at first and see how it goes.

Property division was difficult. Although Jake will now have to come up with his own likes and dislikes, he is staying strong. He wants to set a good example for our children and show them their father can be independent and take care of his own property.

The Facebook divorce will be final soon, and we will send out a notice to all of you. Some of you will start getting them today or tomorrow. Let us know what you would like to do simply by confirming or ignoring. Again, we understand your decisions and respect them. Jake is nervous, and because we've shared our page for so long, I’m asking you to help him make this transition a little easier. Post a message, tag him in some pictures; just make him feel wanted.

I have a lot of guilt with this decision, but I feel it’s for the best. I know it's the holidays and a special time of year, but we’ve just grown apart. Jake is spending lots of time on Facebook, and it’s confusing my friends. I don’t want to lie to myself any longer. He’s moving out. I will never forget this time with him, however, and I will cherish it always. I wish him the best.

Jake's new Facebook page is located at!/profile.php?id=100000495543026. You may find him through his username: Jake Narro. I will be using Amber Reetz Narro.

Don't be surprised when we "remarry" on our separate spaces though. We're thinking of Feb. 4, 2011, which will be our 11th anniversary; hold the date! We'll probably have a really quick ceremony on our homepages and post an announcement for you to "like" that we will once again be virtually hitched to match our status in our real lives.

The children and our immediate families already know. They think our split is "hilarious."

** Just in case some of you are confused by the joke -- we're not getting a real divorce. We're still happily married and living in the same house! We just don't want to confuse our friends with who is posting what. We still call each other "honey."

Monday, September 27, 2010

Pray for Madyson Grace

We live in an awesome community. Our families are close, and our friends are family. It's never more evident than when one of our family members is in need.

It's Friday, Sept. 24. There is a welcome calm after a roller coaster week for the Watts family. Madyson Grace Watts has been in stable condition for about 24 hours, the longest stretch since the accident that kidnapped her from her daily activities she loves so much.

Last Saturday, her mother Sonya was driving Madyson and her sister Mikayla to their grandparents' camp in Mississippi. When Sonya got off the Osyka exit, she was traveling on a highway at a speed normal for such a path. She had a blowout and flipped her Ford F250 twice and hit three trees before the truck rested in someone's front yard.

Sonya, a nurse on the surgery unit at North Oaks, jumped into action. She climbed out of the truck and to Madyson's aid while Mikayla was screaming for her sister. Sonya began immediate CPR to revive her daughter. Always afraid should that situation arise, this nurse didn't miss a beat; her instincts as both a medical professional and a mother were dependable and evident.

The Watts family has felt many blessings this week, starting at the scene of the accident. Off-duty emergency first responders stopped to help and were aiding Sonya in her efforts. Now, prayer groups have formed at their home church, New Sharon Baptist. People who they don't even know have sent messages and Facebook friend requests. They are overwhelmed with the outpouring of prayer and offers of help.

Sonya's neighbor, Robbie Robinson, is taking care of her animals, even cleaning out the litter box for Madyson and Mikayla's beloved cat Ginger. Dachshunds Jessie and Tippy have full food bowls, and the horses are grateful for his diligent efforts. Mr. Robinson even cut their grass.

Best buddy Anita Roberts is taking care of the house, making sure that there is always someone home. She's also making frequent trips to Jackson, bringing items from home that will comfort the family.

The children at Darlene Willie's child care in Loranger are making cards for Madyson. Her little friends at her daycare want to be in the mix of people sending well wishes. The visitors to the hospital keep coming, and they also are receiving love from other families that have children in the ICU.

Little Mikayla just wants to see her "sissy." At the age of three, she's not old enough to go be with the sibling she has been with since her birth. She has been with her mommy all week.

Although swollen and bruised, four-year-old Mady (five in November) is fighting. Her inter cranial pressure has seemed to have stabilized and although still higher than normal, is seldom requiring drugs for relief. Her vital signs have normalized, and she is starting to rely on her own body for strength instead of getting all of her energy from machines.

There are so many people who ask what they can do to help. Here's the answer: pray ... and then pray again. The family is drawing strength from the constant blessings they are receiving. They don't yet know what they will have to deal with when they get answers, but right now, the prayer is keeping them strong.

Also, if you feel compelled, there is an account that has been set up in Madyson Watts' name at Florida Parishes Bank. There also is an account at E Federal Credit Union in Madyson's father Brian Watts' name. Make a donation to help with the many meals this family is having to buy and the hotel room fees they are incurring. Sonya and Brian may be off work for a while, and all donations will be appreciated so that they may spend this time with their precious little fighter without the stress of piling bills.

North Oaks and Exxon Mobile have been wonderful to Brian and Sonya, understanding their indefinite need for time off. Sonya's parents, Paul and Suzanne "Peanut" Miller, are members of the Policeman's Union, which also is sponsoring fundraisers. God bless our community businesses.

When we were growing up, Sonya was my best friend. She still is. Anything that we can do to help make sure this little girl grows up to be somebody's best friend will be greatly appreciated. She has a wonderful role model, and Madyson will be a blessing to her family -- from those who share the blood that runs through her tiny veins to those who care enough just to friend her mom and dad through Facebook. Let us all be family to this family. They need and appreciate all the support.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Bogey Narro (2001-2010)

He came into our lives when we certainly didn't need any new animals. We were living in a two-bedroom apartment and already had a cat. We also were in the middle of building our house, which was its own headache.

When I was leaving the construction site one day, we found them. There was a black kitten, an orange one and a white one. They were curled up right on the side of the road -- I almost hit them with my car. Shayne was with me, and we went back to check on them. It was love at first meow.

The vet aged them at about two weeks old. Our neighbor at the apartment complex took the orange one, and we were left with Birdie and Bogey, named for my husband's love of golf. Their names fit perfectly as Birdie was never any trouble. Bogey, however, was trouble from the start.

When we moved into our house, he got in fights with the neighbors' cats, and he never learned to get along with our dog. While they didn't hate each other, they had an understanding. And until Bogey's dying breath, J.P. respected that Bogey was here first.

Bogey brought us many presents. There were garden moles, mice, rats and even squirrels. Several geckos and lizards lost the battle with Bogey. Just last week, when one thought he could outsmart Bogey in his feeble state, a gecko saw his final moments. We joke that a few weeks ago, he had 'roid rage (he was taking them to control his pain) and killed his last squirrel.

For the last four months, I watched my once 14-pound cat (16 at his heaviest and under nine when he died) struggle through cancer. And this morning, I had to make the decision I didn't want to make. My vets were wonderful; the staff was amazing. It was quiet and peaceful, and he hurts no more.

My first reaction was that I never want another animal again, but I thought about the joy he gave us. He was a hunter and fighter by night and a sweet, cuddly kitten by day. As I whispered in his ear when he was taking his last breath, I am thankful for him.

Thank you, Bogey. I hope my next kitten is half the everything you were and always will be.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

I can't make the decision ... he's just so special

I'm not talking about a break-up here, I'm talking about my sweet kitty cat, Bogey. For the last three months, Bogey has been battling his body, and it looks like he is going to lose this one. He has gone from a cat giant at over 14 pounds to under nine and is refusing food.

I have held him down to pill him, and I have to force myself to make him miserable so that he still won't eat. He looks at me with his one blue eye and one green eye and begs me not to hold him down.

He is not responding to the four-week steroid shot. I'm afraid he may have some sort of infection. I'm going to get the vet to give him another round of antibiotics next week -- to try something that he hasn't had before. Say a little prayer for him.